Monday, December 19, 2005

Fairness to Utica

Mayor Julian's editorial in the Sunday OD, and Mr. Schiavi's editorial in this week's Life and Times raise a number of interesting points. Both are "must reads" by anyone serious about moving the region forward.

Mr. Julian focuses on how the region has harmed/done nothing for Utica's taxbase. He can legitimately complain about jobs being moved from Utica to Rome when Uticans are hit in the pocketbook. He can also legitimately complain when Uticans pay for "regional" job development, but none of Utica's areas are promoted. Try to find Utica on the EDGE Website. It corroborates Mr. Julian's claim that Utica has been "relegated to its present status as a regional afterthought."

Mr. Schiavi focuses on the things that make the region uncompetitive, specifically high sales and property taxes, and high utility rates. He rightly complains that nothing has been done about them. Almost echoing Julian, he states,"Utica has been relegated to its back seat position by those who want it to remain there, by those who do not want to live next to the poor, the illiterate, the unemployed, the socially negligent, and the rest who cannot 'make it on their own.'" Of course, Mr. Schiavi is correct in his assessment. For years, those who could afford to do so left Utica for lower taxed suburbs, continued to use Utica amenities, and escaped their responsibilities to take care of its poor. Unlike most other counties in New York, only recently did Oneida County take over its cities' welfare burdens.

There almost seems to be an intent of the regionalists to wipe "Utica" from everyone's consciousness, inaccurately substituting "Mohawk Valley" (which runs from Rome to Albany) in its place. If this is what is necessary to move the region forward, then, in fairness to Utica lets REALLY do it and fold the City of Utica into one county wide municipality along with Rome, New Hartford and all the other towns and villages. Such an action would certainly eliminate a lot of Mr. Julian's and Mr. Schiavi's concerns.

But somehow I don't think our elite really want this kind of regionalism to happen.

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